Bait & Switch

What is a Bait & Switch Scam?

Bait and switch, a type of fraud that often constitutes a violation of false advertising laws, “baits” customers with an appealing advertisement like a low price or rebate for a product or service that is in low supply or not available. Customers are then “switched” to a substitute product, usually at a higher price or on a basis that is more advantageous to the advertiser.

Examples of Bait & Switch Advertising Scams

  • Retailers may advertise a product at a low price or “on sale,” even though few if any of the products are available for sale.
  • Hotels may use bait customers by advertising rooms at a lower price and then charge customers mandatory “resort fees,” substantially increasing the price of the stay.
  • Airlines may add taxes, fees, and other surcharges that were not originally advertised in the price of a flight.
  • Insurers may increase premiums by as much as 100% even though the insured filed no claims and had no change in creditworthiness.

Laws Prohibiting Bait & Switch Advertising

Bait-and-switch schemes are considered a form of fraud and can be stopped through false advertising lawsuits. Customers who were tricked by bait-and-switch tactics may be able to recover their money lost as a result of the deceptive advertising or put a stop to it to ensure no additional consumers are taken advantage of.